It’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in the U.S., and the law passed by Congress and signed by President Reagan says that this day is for “for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.”
If you’d like to do that by watching television or documentaries, the Kansas City Star has 13 suggestions.
You can listen to/watch this version of his famous “I have a dream” speech, which has been animated and annotated, including showing where he deviated from the original speech’s text. Of course, he wrote—and did!—much more than that one speech; browse all his books here.
Also today, but presumably completely disconnected from the holiday, Celebrity Big Brother season two premieres. It had a low bar to clear last year—set by the regular, typically mediocre seasons of Big Brother—but that first celebrity season set a new, much higher bar.
One of my favorite series was the low-key First Dates on NBC; I don’t expect this new E! series to be as charming, but I’m curious what happens when comedians comment on dates in real time on the new nightly reality show Dating #NoFilter (E!, Jan. 21, Mondays through Thursdays at 10:30).
Cameras follow a woman living with dissociative identity disorder on The Many Sides of Jane (A&E, Tuesdays at 10).
American Pickers (History, Mondays at 9) and Pawn Stars (History, Mondays at 9) both return, though Pawn Stars has been expanded to one-hour episodes—and airs its 500th episode tonight. (One of its core cast members, Richard “Old Man” Harrison, died last year.)
The Circus (Showtime, Sundays at 8) is back if you want to escape from the news by watching a reality series about the news.
Also back: Siesta Key (MTV, Tuesdays at 9), which premiered in 2017 and brought Laguna Beach‘s aesthetic back to MTV. Read my interview with Siesta Key’s co-creator to learn more about how it’s filmed, and how real it is.
Drop the Mic returns this week, premiering new episodes at 10 on a new network, TNT, and then repeating those on its old network, TBS, on Thursdays at 10.
Knight Fight (History, Jan. 23, Wednesdays at 10) is like Chopped except its contestants compete each week by creating weapons and armor, and then battling each other.
Watch people receiving random acts of kindness on Random Acts (BYUtv, Tuesdays at 9), which is followed by The Kindness Diaries (BYUtv, Tuesdays at 9:30) on which “eternal optimist, passionate adventurer and former broker Leon Logothetis … travels across the globe in a search for kindness,” according to BYUtv.
Food Truck Nation (Cooking Channel, Tuesdays at 9) looks for, um, food trucks across the country, while Crazy Cakes (Cooking Channel, Fridays at 9) goes into the kitchens of America’s bakeries.
Finally, another series about a murderer: Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (Netflix, Jan. 24) uses interviews with him to tell the story of how he killed 30+ women.
A new Married at First Sight spin-off, and three docs
Married at First Sight has several spin-offs, and now there’s another: Love At First Baby, which stars Sam Role, who was married on the show but ended up getting divorced.
The series was filmed by Sam herself, and “shares her inspiring story of artificial insemination as she strives to tackle pregnancy and a new baby,” according to its producers, Kinetic Content.
Its entire season, all six episodes, are now on YouTube:
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (PBS, Monday, Jan. 21 at 10) is a documentary that says it “tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence” and “how these talented Native musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.”
USA vs. the World (NBC, Jan. 27, at 8) could be the title of many things, but this week it’s being used for a special American Ninja Warrior, on which American competitors face off against teams from Europe and Australia. Representing the U.S. are Drew Drechsel, Jesse “Flex” Labreck, Mathis “Kid” Owhadi, Najee Richardson, and Barclay Stockett.
Robert Durst, who confessed to multiple murders on The Jinx, is the subject of Robert Durst: An ID Murder Mystery (ID, tonight and tomorrow, Jan. 21 and 22, at 9). The network promises that the two-night special “builds on the explosive news coming out of HBO’s The Jinx to bring viewers a comprehensive, 360-degree exploration into the case starting from the very beginning and extending to new information from the present day.”